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World Heritage Convention

Decision 44 COM 7B.155
Upper Middle Rhine Valley (Germany) (C 1066)

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC/21/44.COM/7B,
  2. Recalling Decision 43 COM 7B.83, adopted at its 43rd session (Baku, 2019),
  3. Commends the State Party for its progress made to update the Management Plan of the property, as well as conducting a study that will facilitate impact assessments related to the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) and attributes of the property, and requests the State Party to ensure that:
    1. the Management Plan includes a thorough inventorying of the attributes of the property and its constituent parts, or makes provision for a short-term creation of such an inventory as baseline for impact assessments,
    2. the document includes a shared vision by stakeholders for the protection and management of the property,
    3. the Management Plan is adequately embedded in the national and federal legal system,
    4. the draft consolidated document is submitted to the World Heritage Centre, for review by the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies, in order to ensure that its recommendations and comments can be appropriately taken into account in the final document;
  4. Notes the delay of the planning process for a permanent river crossing and reiterates its request to the State Party to involve the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies, at the earliest possible stage in the appraisal of options undertaken in a wide regional strategic context, but focusing on developing solutions for local needs, and before any decisions are taken;
  5. Also notes the State Party’s efforts to reduce rail related noise pollution, especially from freight trains and encourages the State Party to continue to find long-term solutions for diverting these trains from the property;
  6. Notes with concern that a wind farm in Boppard-Weiler and two turbines near Wiebelsheim, in the setting of the property, were granted approval, despite the findings of the line of sight study of the project, which considered them incompatible with the OUV of the property; and, in order to avoid adverse impact from these projects to the OUV of the property, urges the State Party to:
    1. Find legally grounded solutions that will allow the refusal of applications for wind energy projects which would potentially have a negative impact on the OUV of the property and its attributes,
    2. Declare a temporary moratorium on wind energy developments in the buffer zone and setting of the property,
    3. Develop a strategic spatial framework for wind energy developments that is based on a sensitivity mapping for the property, its attributes, its buffer zone and its wider setting, related to the OUV of the property (including potential visual impacts), and which can form the basis of wind energy development siting in the future,
    4. Ensure that the developed spatial framework is assessed through a Strategic Environmental Assessment that provides means for looking at cumulative impacts and enables to address them at the earliest stage of decision making,
    5. Ensure that the above documents are submitted to the World Heritage Centre for review by the Centre and the Advisory Bodies;
  7. Further notes that a number of projects are planned or proposed for approval, which have the potential to impact on its OUV, therefore, also requests the State Party to keep the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies informed of all major project design options planned for implementation within the property, its buffer zone and its wider setting in line with Paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines, and ensure that impact assessments are carried out for these and that irreversible decisions are not taken before the relevant documentation has been reviewed by the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies;
  8. Welcomes the cancellation of the hotel project on the Loreley plateau, and further requests the State Party to develop an appropriate spatial framework for the future use of the Loreley plateau, based on a thorough assessment of the relevant attributes that convey OUV and supporting their critical contribution to it, and test this spatial framework through an independent Visual Impact Assessment and Heritage Impact Assessment (HIA) before the framework is given legal status and any new proposals are developed following on from the framework;
  9. Notes furthermore that the joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS Reactive Monitoring mission has been postponed to September 2021, if the sanitary conditions will allow it; and nevertheless encourages the State Party not to make any final or irreversible decisions for major projects before the planned mission has visited the property, and to provide in the meantime a status update on the extension of the Koblenz cable car operating permit to the World Heritage Centre;
  10. Finally requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 December 2022, an updated report on the state of conservation of the property and the implementation of the above, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 46th session.
Decision Code
44 COM 7B.155
States Parties 1
State of conservation reports
2021 Upper Middle Rhine Valley
Decisions adopted at the 44th extended session of the World Heritage Committee
Context of Decision